Ancient and Medieval Theatre: A Historiographical Handbook

Ancient and Medieval Theatre: A Historiographical Handbook

Ancient and Medieval Theatre: A Historiographical Handbook

Ancient and Medieval Theatre: A Historiographical Handbook


"Vince uses written and artifactual evidence of theatre history to explain the nature of its current state. His study of theatre's early forms discloses a wealth of significant facts, and some conjectures, that stimulate understanding and appreciation of the art." Backstage


This book purports to provide an analytical survey of the principal written and artifactual evidence for the history of the ancient and medieval theatres. But it is also concerned with theatre historians and with some classic works of theatre history. History is created by the interaction of evidence and historian, and we can therefore come to some understanding of historical writing by considering the historian's sources, methodology, assumptions, milieu, and idiosyncracies. Sources, methods, assumption--these can be identified or inferred; a historian's quirks of personality are more difficult to ascertain. Another way of looking at the present volume, then, is to see it as a modest step towards understanding theatre historiography, the process of writing theatre history.

Clearly, it is not possible within the compass of a single volume to discuss all the evidence for the ancient and medieval theatres, or to list all the scholarship that has contributed to our understanding of them. This handbook is a compromise between theoretical historiography and a bibliography: It includes a discussion of the various kinds of evidence, with special reference to those specific sources that have proved to be of central importance; and it provides an evaluative sketch of some important reference works. In most instances the reader is referred to a source where the original evidence is reproduced.

For students of the theatre, the decision to include the classical theatres and the medieval theatre within the same volume needs no justification: On these theatres depend the subsequent theatres of Western culture. Each is viewed as having had a separate birth, and the great national theatres of the Renaissance are normally seen as the products of a fusion of classical and medieval theatrical traditions.

Until the eighteenth century, concern with the theatre of the past meant mainly concern with the theatres of Greece and Rome; but the growth of interest in the . . .

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